Friday, December 21, 2012


Earlier posts in this blog (9/30/2005 & 6/11/2007) pertained to a historic house in Cleveland, Ohio, owned by an art academy for children, which they decided they wanted to demolish.  This plan was temporarily sidelined after it became controversial, but, recently, it has been revived.  Shockingly, it now involves the demolition of two historic structures.  In the interim period, the academy -- known as Art House -- gained ownership of an immediately adjacent property, also occupied by a historic house, which they publicly declared they were going to use for some part of their operations -- exactly as they had originally said regarding the first-mentioned historic house.  But, again, in a stupendous demonstration of unabated irresponsibility, they once again abandoned this plan and, now, once again, they have announced their plan to demolish this house, as well.  Needless to say, since they are an organization with the potential to influence the political voting of others, they have the support of the councilperson of the ward they are located in, always on the lookout of furthering his political (or otherwise) career.  The house that has been threatened for several years was built in 1884 for Andrew Wirth, who was the final postmaster of what was then Brooklyn Village just before its choice to be annexed to Cleveland.  Please note the accompanying image of this house taken in 1945.  Its exterior has been substantially abused, first covered in aluminum siding and then having its ornate Queen Anne porch replaced by a smoked-glass bubble so as to promote the products of a glass-company that was once the house's sole occupant.  Very unusual decorative balconies [see accompanying photo] and a slate roof have miraculously survived to this day.  The other, now newly-threatened house was built in 1886 for Edward Belz, one of the proprietors of the most significant title-research company in Cleveland at the turn of the last century.  It was also subjected to an unattractive residing decades ago.  But, its front porch has remained -- and it is easily one of the most artistic late-19th-century porches that can be seen in Cleveland [see accompanying photo].

It is nothing less than pathetic that Art House has gained public support of their acquisitions of historic buildings via their allegations of using them, only to ultimately decide that they wish to demolish them, instead -- a genuinely sinister example of the classic "bait-and-switch" technique if there ever was one.  With the ongoing support of the anything-for-votes councilperson, and the persistent nothing-is-historic mentality of Cleveland -- the government and  general public, alike -- the doom of these historic structures appears to be a "sealed deal".